If you’re looking for a fabulous Valentine’s Day wine, try Catena Malbec. Its silky smooth texture and rich plum fruit flavors make it an excellent wine to celebrate a day of love! For food pairing inspiration, see what three talented Portland chefs paired it with during the Malbec & Mushrooms Cook-Off for a Cause event.
Mushrooms and Malbec make an excellent food and wine pairing, and three local chefs were put to the test to see who could create the best tasting mushroom dish to compliment the 2013 Catena Malbec.
Plaza del Toro proved to be an excellent place to host the Malbec & Mushrooms Cook-Off for a Cause event, a private charity event featuring Chef Dustin Koerner of Andina, Chef Chris Carriker of Bluehour, and Chef Carrie Merrill of John Gorham Restaurants.
All three talented chefs were tasked with developing mushroom-centric recipes that would pair well with the 2013 Catena Malbec. The chef of the winning dish would receive $3,000 to go toward his or her charity of choice; second place would receive $2,000 to the charity of his or her choosing; third place would get $1,000 toward his or her charity of choice.
The Catena family has been making wines in Argentina since Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vineyard in 1902. Now, Nicola’s granddaughter, Dr. Laura Catena, has taken the family’s long history of winemaking to the next level. It was truly an honor to meet her at this event, and learn more about her family’s wines.
The Malbec is absolutely delicious with strong, earthy food such as mushrooms. It’s a deep garnet colored wine that has big fruit flavors and a silky smooth finish. I would honestly love to drink this wine for Valentine’s Day because it’s sultry, sexy, and would stand up to a special occasion dish such as duck, rib eye steak, or rack of lamb.
In addition to the Malbec, Catena produces Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon which are distributed in the United States, and can be found in many fine restaurants and wine shops. During the event, we were also give a taste of the Chardonnay, which is a lively, acidic white with bright citrus and floral notes.
Quick shout-out to my fellow food & drink bloggers who attended this event with me. It’s a small tight community here in Portland, and I can honestly say that I always have the best time with my fellow Portland food + drink bloggers/writers. Above, you’ll see some of my favorites, and I hope you go follow their blogs and social media accounts as well!
Pictured from left to right: Lena of Lena’s Kitchen Blog; Alex of Drinking Portland; Meredith of Martha Chartreuse; Rebekah (probably uploading a fabulous photo to Instagram) of PDX Food Love; and Mary of The Kitchen Paper.
Malbec & Mushrooms Food Pairings
We were each able to taste the three distinct dishes prepared by the chefs. I was blown away by how creative the chefs were in creating mushroom dishes that paired well with the Malbec.
Chef Dustin Koerner of Andina made a Carapulcra con Puerco: Braised Pork Sirloin, Chicharron, with Carapulcra stew, Watercress and Citrus salad, and a Chanterelle and Lobster Mushroom Conserva. When all was said and done, Chef Koerner’s dish won second place, and a $2,000 donation made in his name to his charity of choice, the Hacienda CDC.
Chef Chris Carriker of Bluehour made a Porcini mushroom chip with cured duck, duck liver mousse, roasted maitakes, porcini and chanterelles and will have a $1,000 donation made in his name for The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon.
The Winning Dish
Congratulations to Chef Carrie Merrill of John Gorham Restaurants for her winning dish: a Trio of Candy Cap Mushrooms. This stunning dessert consisted of a brûlée, macaron and the most beautiful, cherry red bon bon I have ever seen. I can attest: this truly was a delicious dessert deserving of the win.
Thanks to her win, $3,000 will be donated in Chef Merrill’s name to Young Audiences of Oregon!
While I normally only share original recipes that I create on this blog, I thought I would be remiss if I showed you all of these beautiful dishes without at least giving you ONE of the recipes so you could try it for yourself at home.
Chef Carrie Merrill was very generous in sharing her recipe for the brulee portion of her winning Trio of Candy Cap Mushrooms dish. You’ll definitely want a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. Paired with Catena Malbec, this could be a winning Valentine’s Day dessert in your home as well!
Candy Cap Mushrooms Brulee
- 28 grams Dehydrated Candy Cap Mushrooms
- 330 grams Milk
- 670 grams Heavy Cream
- 190 grams Granulated Sugar
- 300 grams Egg Yolk
- Bring Candy Cap Mushrooms and milk to a boil, turn off and let steep for 1 hour, then strain mushrooms
- In the meantime measure out heavy cream in a medium sized container
- Combine sugar and yolks together and set aside
- Once the mushrooms are strained out, bring the milk back up to a boil
- Temper hot milk in the yolk mixture then strain into the heavy cream
- Pour into dishes and bake at 200 on a shallow sheet tray with a little bit of water for steam
- Bake until brulee moves in one as on solid mass.
Do you enjoy Malbec wine and/or mushroom dishes? If so, what’s your favorite mushroom dish, or what would YOU have prepared to pair with the Catena Malbec?